For humans and their impact on the world

This is what we believe in: the old mindset and ways of working will not change unless we celebrate our future builders. Therefore we're bringing back the Pause Awards. Now in its third year and going regional including New Zealand, the Pause Awards is an exclusive competition that honours the impact brought by the intersection of creativity, tech and business – where the innovation happens!

28 August 2020
23 October 2020
30 October 2020
25 November 2020

You may enter as an individual or as a company. Winners and nominees will be recognised for their impact in the industry and community across twelve categories. And we've added one more - The Hall of Fame Award, which will be given to the trailblazer who pushed the ecosystem forward.

Here are the top benefits. And we have prizes too (see below).

  • Be reviewed by global industry experts.
  • Get invited to speak at Pause Fest.
  • Challenge yourself – compete with the best in class.
  • Build credibility, be seen and recognised for your impact.
  • Extend your network and get new business!

Few companies
that won in 2019.

Watch the video from the Pause Awards 2019 night.


Pause Awards champion people in the startup, scaleup and big businesses that not only go the extra mile but are also entrepreneurial, driven by purpose, plugged in the community and are aware of the impact they are making in the world and their business. All industries may apply.

Hammer Award

For nailing it

This award recognises a company’s success, on their own terms, in the market.

Awarding: Company
Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Company.
3 Winners

Do You Know Who I Am Award

For the silent achiever

This award recognises a person that has been responsible for the success of their company from the back stage.

Awarding: Individual
Who can apply: Co-Founder, Co-CEO, Partner, Director, Chairman, Owner, Executive.
5 Winners

Out of the Garage Award

For scaling global

This award recognises a company’s global growth, expansion, and success.

Awarding: Company
Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Company.
3 Winners

Big Noise Award

For media cut through

This award recognises a company that has delivered clever marketing tactics.

Awarding: Company
Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Company.
3 Winners

Super Connector Award

For being the community champ

This award recognises a person for a significant contribution to the success of their clients or the community.

Awarding: Individual
Who can apply: Founder, C-Level, Partner, Management, Director, Designer, Events People, Community Manager, Artist, Recruiter.
5 Winners

B-Good Award (NEW)

For a good business

This award recognises a company that has done well for the community and the world through their commercial practice.

Awarding: Company
Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Company, NGO, B-Corp
3 Winners

Prodigy Award

For being exceptional

This award recognises a young person with exceptional qualities or abilities.

Awarding: Individual
Who can apply: Under 35: Entrepreneur, Student, Creative.
3 Winners

Roowi Award (NEW)

For new and First Peoples

This award recognises a successful company with its founders from indigenous or ethnic heritage that has gained success in the market.

Awarding: Company
Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Company.
5 Winners

Unexpected Twist Award

For a great pivot

This award recognises a person or company that has taken an unexpected pivot in their business or career.

Awarding: Individual
Who can apply: Founder, CEO, Partner, Director, Chairman, Owner.
1 Winner


For the life-long mentor

This award recognises an experienced and trusted advisor who elevated someone's career.

Awarding: Individual
Who can apply: Entrepreneur, CEO, Serial Founder, Investor, Chairman.
1 Winner

I Wish I’d Done That Award

For sheer brilliance

This award recognises a company’s simple and clever idea in a niche market.

Awarding: Company
Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Company.
3 Winners

Fresh Blood Award (NEW)

For students with brilliant ideas

This award recognises crazy new commercial ideas that aim to solve the world's most challenging problems.

Awarding: Individual
Who can apply: Students between Year 9 - 12.
5 Winners

2018 Winner
Unexpected Twist

“Well it a) made me laugh when I read it and b) made me feel a lot prouder than any other award I've received. So thank you! I'm honoured.”
Cyan Ta'eed, Founder, Hey Tiger & Exec Dir/ Co-Founder, Envato

2019 Winner
Out of the Garage

“We met people from 2 through to 10,000 people companies from different industries, all trying to achieve the same thing – grow their business.”

2019 Winner
Hammer Award

“We are honoured to have been chosen for the Hammer award, and to be considered alongside such fierce talent.”
Awards trophy


We are looking for Category, Major and Naming Rights partners. If your company values its people, purpose and culture hit us up at to talk about the opportunities on how to best engage your audience, boost your brand and build thought leadership.


A wake-up call to cynics who think they have seen it all. Meet the winners from Pause Awards 2019: smart entrepreneurs, pioneering companies and bold minds who are building exciting new futures.

Hammer Award

For nailing it



Nightingale Housing

Out of the Garage Award

For scaling global


F45 Training


Super Connector Award

For being the community champ

Bri Johnstone, Creative Director, StartWest

Dianna Somerville, The Regional Entrepreneur

Jodie Imam, GM, SBE Australia

Judy Anderson, CEO, Startup Victoria

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien, Startup Editor, StartupSmart

Prodigy Award

For being exceptional

Ash Davies, CEO, Tablo

Max Mito, CEO & Co-Founder, Strong Room

Thomas King, CEO, Food Frontier

Unexpected Twist Award

For a great pivot

Athan Didaskalou & Rich Li, Co-Founders, July

I Wish I’d Done That Award

For sheer brilliance




Do You Know Who I Am Award

For the silent achiever

Byron Scaf, CEO, Stile Education

Edda Hamar, CEO & Co-Founder, Undress Runways & Lána

Julia Waite, Head of Operations, SproutX

Nathan Murphy, Co-Founder, QuizBreaker

Winitha Bonney, Founder, Amina of Zaria

Big Mouth Award

For media cut through



Up Bank


  • You need to be an Australian/ New Zealand based.
  • Global companies can apply provided that the submission is from their local offices.
  • Government departments and agencies can apply.
  • Not-for-profits are welcome.
  • Awards are not industry specific.
  • You may enter for multiple categories.
  • Individual entries need to be employed full-time or part-time for a minimum two years as of 1 June 2020.
  • Startup and company entries need to have a minimum three employees and be in operation at least two years.
  • For further information please refer to terms and conditions or Q&A.

I’m all good, entering now.


Pause Awards honours the future builders who are spearheading their companies' culture by delivering positive impact for the client, their business, as well as enriching the ecosystem locally and globally.

Entries will be judged by the world-leading industry experts. All winners in each category will each receive a certificate, a Rainbow Trophy and a ticket to the next Pause Fest.

Some of the winners will also be invited to speak at the event depending on the program. Winners and finalists will be featured on the Pause Fest website with additional editorial stories from selected winners.


There will be two judging rounds:

Shortlist Round
Each judge will review a percentage of entries across the categories. The scoring is done on a 1-10 rating. Entries that score above 7.0 will move on to the Final Round as finalists.

Final Round
In the final round, judges will again give each entry a 1-10 rating. To win, an entry must have an average score of at least 7.0 and be the highest-rated entry in its category. This decision is final and binding.

In both rounds, scoring is done anonymously and confidentially. If no entry meets the criteria above for a given category, there will be no winner for that category. Judges must recuse themselves from voting on their own company, those who don't will be withdrawn.

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Meet the jury of the Pause Awards 2020.

They come from some of the world’s most innovative companies, startups, and organizations.


David Swan
Tech Editor
The Australian
David Swan is Technology Editor at The Australian. For over a decade he has reported on Australia's growing tech and start-up ecosystems, and is a trusted voice when it comes to tech across the country. He appears regularly on TV and radio.
Lalitha Wemel
Regional Director (APAC)
Kuala Lumpur
Lalitha Wemel is the Regional Director of Community for APAC at Techstars. Since 2015, she has overseen partnerships, programming and startup ecosystems development across the region. She proudly leads Techstars Global Startup Weekend Women program series and is the co-host of her newly launched startup podcast, Happy Messy Founders.
Joel Connolly
Creative Director
Blackbird Ventures
Joel Connolly is the Creative Director at Blackbird Ventures - a Sydney-based venture capital firm that invests in everything from SaaS to space. Before Blackbird Ventures, he ran and Artist Management business and was also the Festival Director and Founder of Sydney Craft Beer Week.
Sonia Clarke
National Lead - Creative Comms
Sonia leads PwC’s Creative Comms team, which works with clients to engage their audiences by drawing on strategic communications, creativity, and behavioural insights. Prior to PwC Sonia spent a decade in PR, where she held senior agency leadership roles and directed award-winning campaigns ranging from consumer brands to corporate reputation.
Craig Forman
Sr. People Scientist
Culture Amp
San Francisco
Craig Forman is a Lead People Scientist with Culture Amp where he supports organisations to build effective people and culture strategies. One of his key strengths is the ability to create safe spaces for people to view and conquer challenging topics with the goal of personal growth.
Julie Trell
Global Head
Julie Trell is the Head of Telstra's startup accelerator, muru-D, and the Country Lead and Super Activator for SheEO in Australia. She has a vast and varied background spanning both startup and corporate environments. When not working you can find her at the beach, probably attempting a yoga pose with a camera in hand or hugging a wild Australian animal.
Harini Janakiraman
Head of Technology
Harini Janakiraman is the Global Head of Technology at Antler – one of the world's leading early-stage venture capital firms with investments in more than 170 companies. Here she leads the effort to create a data-driven platform to drive the investment decision process and is also the advisor for several startups.
Alan Jones
General Partner
M8 Ventures
A founding investor in Australian tech startup venture funds like Pollenizer, Startmate and Blackbird Ventures, Alan Jones has been an active angel investor here and in the US, with investments including Canva, Propeller Aero, UpGuard and more. He also mentors startup founders in programs at BlueChilli, Catalysr, Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, UTS and more.
Amanda Robinson
Head of Social Innovation
Australian Red Cross
Amanda Robinson is the Head of Social Innovation & Humanitech at the Australian Red Cross, where she has led several innovative projects that are transforming the way the organisation and the sector collaborate and create impact. Amanda has a keen interest in how frontier technology might help to solve complex social problems and drive humanitarian outcomes at scale.
Juan Ciapessoni
Founder & Head of Innovation
The Electric Factory Group
Juan Ciapessoni is the Co-founder and Head of Innovation at The Electric Factory, an award-winning innovation company with ties to digital, prototyping, tech products, and analytics. With almost 20 years in the digital industry, Juan has launched and executed campaigns for world-renowned brands including Unilever, Netflix, McDonald's, Ab-Inbev and Kellogg's, among others.
Nicole Scherer
Head of Creative Services
Tennis Australia
Nicole Scherer aims to inspire big ideas and beautifully-crafted design combined with world-leading interactive technology that is also integrated within the traditional space. As an integrated creative, Nicole has worked on both agency and client sides, across most categories, and with some of the biggest national and international brands in Australia, China and Europe.
Leif Stromnes
MD of Strategy and Innovation
DDB Sydney
Leif Stromnes, an advertising veteran, spent 28 years as a strategic thinker in some of the most well-known agencies in the world, including Ogilvy, TBWA and presently, DDB Sydney. Leif has a particular interest in behavioural science and advertising effectiveness. In 2019 he authored DDB's global strategic planning approach, which has been exported to 220 offices around the world.
Tai Rattigan
Vice President
GGV Capital
San Francisco
Tai Rattigan is the Vice President at GGV Capital, a global capital venture firm that fuels the growth of inspiring founders and teams at all stages. Tai is passionate about sales, strategy and partnerships and looks to find innovative ways to introduce scale and efficiency strategies within businesses and drive positive change.
Jamie Finnegan
Global Head of Talent
Jamie Finnegan has extensive experience working with top Australian startups to help hire talent, consult on growth strategy, and advise on company values and culture. He is passionate about creating a work environment in which everyone feels comfortable, valued and empowered.
Tom Leyden
Global Leader Information Technology
Woods Bagot
Over 20 years, Tom Leyden has worked in multiple industries including finance, business services, and more recently, architecture and design. With the rise of consumer-based tech, Tom believes that technology is no longer the domain of the IT department, and to truly unlock technology for an organisation, we must enable people to bring technology to the game.
Aqeel Camal
Futures Collective
Aqeel Camal is a designer, problem-solver and a community builder who empowers young people with the skills to navigate our innovative world with confidence. He is a facilitator of connection at heart – joining the dots between people, who they are and the impact they seek to create.
Galit Ariel
Future Memory Inc.
Head of Futures
Galit Ariel is a TechnoFuturist and creative, featured at global conferences and organisations such as TED, SXSW, Slush, The European Union, Bell Labs, and more. She explores the wild imaginative side of immersive technologies and their impact on our cultures and behaviours. Galit is passionate about a future in which technology is integrated into everyday life but does not control it.
Rupert de Paula
Creative Partner
Rupert de Paula believes ideas solve everything. From branding to fundamental business challenges – there’s no problem an idea can’t fix. He has worked in the creative departments of world-class agencies for over ten years. Today, he runs his own agency, Strategy, where he mentors and develops talent while producing both highly effective and award-winning work.


Early entries
Company: $195 per entry
Individual: $95 per entry
Student: $45 per entry

Regular entries
Company: $245 per entry
Individual: $145 per entry
Student: $55 per entry

Late entries
Company: $295 per entry
Individual: $195 per entry
Student: $65 per entry

All fees are in AUD (exclusive of GST and processing fees)

Winners Package

Winners of each of the 12 categories will receive a trophy designed by Pause Fest Founder George Hedon, two Pause Awards Certificates, a Leader Ticket to the next Pause Fest event, a feature on the website, an editorial feature on selected winners and a promo kit for their social media.

All winners will be widely promoted via the Pause Fest network. We will not charge you for your trophy or anything else if you win. The entry to the Pause Awards Party will be a separate cost.

Shortlisted entries receive marketing material to promote their involvement.

What’s different about Pause Awards?

There are several tech, innovation and startup awards out there, but Pause Awards stands out of the pack. Why?

  • Our low entry prices as we take into consideration that startups and individuals are applying.
  • Our judges are leading international figures in tech, business culture and innovation.
  • You won't find in any other award competitions out there with a diverse award category lineup like ours!

What judges are looking for?
Pause Awards doesn't just celebrate projects; it celebrates the people that make it happen. So, while each category is different, overall judges will be looking for:

Business success: what was the success in your business? How do you measure it, and what it means to you or your business?
Smart tactics: what strategies have you employed? And how resilient is your approach or the business model against the future?
Positive impact: a focus on the company culture, client or customer satisfaction and community impact.

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